10 Emerging Photographers in Nigeria
In our continuing series on contemporary photography in Africa, we turn our searchlight on an emerging and talented group of young photographers living and working in Nigeria. Born between the mid-80s and mid-90s, many of them are already award-winners and have gained much international recognition. In no particular order, here is our list of some of the most exciting.
Fati Abubakar (b.1986)
Visual storyteller, Fati Abubakar was born and raised in Maiduguri, Borno State. Trained as a nurse at the University of Maiduguri, Abubakar holds a Masters degree in Public Health from the London South Bank University. Better known as a photojournalist, she has since 2015, interviewed as well as taken pictures of the residents of Borno, in a series she calls ‘Bits of Borno’, which captures their resilience and strength, through which they have endured the terrors of the Boko Haram terrorist group.
Jenevieve Aken (b.1989)
Jenevieve Aken explores deeply personal experiences, contemporary social issues and the transforming urban condition as inspiration for her practice. Her work typically comments on the tensions faced by contemporary African women regarding their identity, sexuality and social roles, as seen in her latest project, ‘Great Expectations’, where she draws attention to the pressure faced by women in Africa to get married. The series was featured at the 7th edition of the Lagos Photo Festival. She has also exhibited in three other editions of the festival and internationally, in South Africa, Europe and New York.
Rahima Gambo (b.1986)
Rahima Gambo holds a Masters from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (2014), a postgraduate degree in gender and social policy from the London School of Economics and a BA in development studies from the University of Manchester (2007). Gambo explores her identity and memory, as well as social issues affecting her home country. Here she leans towards intimate and complicated narratives about Nigerians, including herself. In June 2015, she was awarded a grant by the International Women’s Media Foundation-Howard G. Buffet Fund to pursue a long-term photography-based project titled ‘Education is Forbidden’, about students affected by the insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria. Gambo has exhibited at the ‘Nlele Institute, Lagos’, Open Range Fine Art Gallery and at the Bamako Biennale(2015). Her work has also been published in New York Times, Financial Times, Camera Austria, Quartz Africa, Forskning & Framsteg and Omvärlden.
Kemi Akin-Nibosun (b.1991)
Kemi Akin-Nibosun’s work also spans painting and design. In a conceptual and symbolic way, art for her, is the expression of possible solutions to problems in a society. She emerged winner of the ‘Best Photograph’ category in the 2013 and 2014 editions of the Life in My City competition. A 2011 Invisible Borders participant, Akin-Nibosun has participated in several group exhibitions and organised a solo exhibition that toured three Nigerian states.
Chibuike Uzoma (b.1992)
Born in Port Harcourt, Chibuike Uzoma holds a degree in painting from the University of Benin (2013). His works focus mainly on contemporary African politics, speaking against the negative impact of colonialism and military dictatorship in Africa, as well as on issues like unemployment and religious and ethnic conflicts. Uzoma has participated in several residences and important group exhibitions in Nigeria and abroad.
Olumuyiwa Logo (b.1990)
Oluwamuyiwa Logo works predominantly in black-and-white. He describes his work as “seeking the abstract elements of realistic subjects”. In his latest series ‘Monochrome Lagos’, Logo captures Lagos in her uniqueness. His exhibitions to date include Perspectives from Within (2016), San Francisco School of the Arts, Lagos: Hustle & Hope (2015), and Lagos: Young Contemporaries (2016).
Kadara Enyeasi (b.1994)
Kadara Enyeasi’s creativity spans across various other disciplines including architecture, menswear and low relief sculpture. His work bridges the gap between indigenous traditions and Western ideas of sexuality and human psychology. Inspired by the works of Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Lakin Ogunbanwo, Viviane Sassen, Peter Lindbergh, Mustafa Sabbagh and Andre Wagner, Enyeasi is presently studying for an MA in architecture at the University of Lagos.
Ayo Akinwande (b.1991)
Ayo Akinwande seeks to expand his expressive and thematic scope, by exploring the events of daily life through critical views of the social, political and cultural from a contemporary Nigerian context. In his work, he employs archival materials such as newspaper prints and posters, to engage with memory and history. In 2015, he had two solo exhibitions Women of Africa in Athens, Greece and Boju Boju in Lagos, Nigeria. Akinwande also participated in the What’s Inside Her Never Dies group exhibition at the Yeelen Gallery in Miami, United States.
Yagazie Emezi (b.1990)
Born in Aba, Nigeria in 1990, Yagazie Emezi holds dual degrees in cultural anthropology and African studies from the University of New Mexico, United States. Her passion for photography began with an interest in works of other photographers, including J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, Angel Fisher, Carol Beckwith and Mambu Bayoh. In 2014, she returned to Lagos to document life in Nigeria. She has taken part in several exhibitions, including LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, sponsored by the World Press Photo (2016), Unseen Photo Fair, Amsterdam (2016) and ‘The Everyday Projects’ at FotoIstanbul (2016). Emezie is a contributor to Everyday Africa and has completed several commissions by Al-Jazeera, Lagos Fashion Week, Union Bank Nigeria, Refinery29, and Tastemakers Africa. She has also been featured by Huffington Post, MTV, Format Magazine, NY Magazine’s ‘The Cut’, Afropunk, models.com, The Guardian (Nigeria), New York Times and Vogue. She is currently working on a project around education for girls in ‘at-risk’ communities in Monrovia, Liberia.
Ima Mfon (b.1989)
Ima Mfon is interested in exploring issues of social and cultural identity. He is a recipient of the Lensculture Emerging Talents Award (2015). His latest project ‘Nigerian Identity’, is a personal exploration of his own identity. It was featured on CNN and exhibited at the Lagos Photo Festival (2015), and the PULSE Contemporary Art Fair. In addition, Mfon has been exhibited at the Klompching Gallery in New York City, the San Francisco Camerawork Gallery, and the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography. He also periodically collaborates with Bloomberg, to cover stories that showcase less reported aspects of Nigerian culture, such as the thriving video game and filmmaking communities. Ima Mfon continues to work out of his home studio, and is currently photographing young football players he encounters on the streets of Lagos.
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